White House responds to petitions to secede from union - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

White House responds to petitions to secede from union

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Benjamin Franklin is responsible for this political cartoon, which was used to encourage the American colonies to unite against British rule in 1754. (Source: Library of Congress) Benjamin Franklin is responsible for this political cartoon, which was used to encourage the American colonies to unite against British rule in 1754. (Source: Library of Congress)
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(RNN) - You know the old saying that if someone you can't stand wins the presidency, you're moving to Canada?

What if you decided that instead of moving, you could just refuse to answer to the new leader - and take the state with you? 

Dozens of people tried, taking their grievances to the government petition website, We the People, to ask for permission to peacefully secede their state from the union.

And if you think your state couldn't have been one of them, you're wrong. Every single state had a petition, though most weren't popular enough to make a dent in the signatures needed for a response.

But eight did - and on Friday the White House finally responded more than a month since the signature threshold for the first petition was reached.

Jon Carson, the director of the Office of Public Engagement, answered the petitions.

"In a nation of 300 million people - each with their own set of deeply-held beliefs - democracy can be a noisy and controversial. And that's a good thing. Free and open debate is what makes this country work, and many people around the world risk their lives every day for the liberties we often take for granted," Carson said.

"But as much as we value a healthy debate, we don't let that debate tear us apart."

The eight states that had enough signatures, 25,000, to warrant responses were Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

Secession isn't a new idea at all. It was extremely popular in the 1800s. So popular, in fact, that the country fought a war over it.

Anyone who took a basic history course in school knows about the Civil War, which lasted for four years and resulted in the deaths of more than 600,000 forces. That number does not include civilians.

Carson said that while our founding fathers enshrined in the constitution "the right to change our national government through the power of the ballot," they did "not provide a right to walk away from it."

"Although the founders established a perpetual union, they also provided for a government that is, as President Lincoln would later describe it, 'of the people, by the people, and for the people,' - all of the people," Carson wrote.

The White House did not address each state's petition independently, but did also apply this response to a petition asking for the deportation of everyone who signed the petitions for state secession.

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